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Blog: Bring back Parkhurst, but bring it back right

Posted on 1st April 2010 by hockeymedia in The Blog | Tags:

For those that love a good comeback, they must be tired of the comebacks that Parkhurst has made over the years. Originally published from 1951-52 to 1963-64, modern-day card companies have already revived the old Parkhurst name on three separate occasions.

We say it’s time for a fourth comeback.

The Parkhurst revival has been hit and miss with hockey collectors since 1991-92. The most recent comeback was 2005-06 when it was re-introduced as “easy to collect with its large regular set size, 700 cards in all.” The Upper Deck Company claimed Parkhurst gave it “an instant historic presence in the hockey sports collectibles industry.” Just one year later, though, UDC picked up the older O-Pee-Chee name and out-muscled its own Parkhurst brand out of the hobby. O-Pee-Chee, as it turned out, was an instant bigger hit with the “large regular set size”.

So how does a card company reintroduce Parkhurst a fourth time after three starts and stops? Well, we suggest that company turns back the clock 50 years for the very bright idea that just might give Parkhurst an identity that could last. We’re not thinking retro design or retro players. No, we’re thinking an all-Canadian concept that features players from Canada’s six NHL teams and nothing else.

Back in 1959-60, you see, the Parkhurst (or Zip) hockey bubble gum cards featured the Montréal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. If you wanted players from the four American teams, you collected Topps. If you wanted the more popular Canadian teams, you collected Parkhurst.

A similar concept would work terrific in today’s market, especially since the Upper Deck Company (and now Panini America) deliver multiple hockey brands over the course of a hockey season. We could suggest that Parkhurst replaces Upper Deck Collector’s Choice on the product schedule, a logical switch considering that Upper Deck Collector’s Choice has had a stop and start history of its own. Parkhurst could be a Canada-only product at $2-3 per pack, widely available in hobby and retail chains across the country. Remember, Parkhurst should be a product for the kids.

In a crowded marketplace, the new Parkhurst brand would have an instant place in the hockey collectibles industry. There would be more of Henrik Sedin, more of Jarome Iginla, and more of Jason Spezza for kids collecting Parkhurst. The Canadian content would be unique to Parkhurst; the all-30-teams content would be available to every other brand including O-Pee-Chee, Upper Deck MVP and Victory.

We believe Parkhurst deserves another chance, we just don’t think it should come back as just another set in this market. After all these years, such a historic set deserves such a historic idea.